robo-debt centrelink
(Image: AAP/Julian Smith)

It’s been more than two years since I chaired the first hearing of the Senate inquiry into the notorious “robo-debt” program. I’ll never forget listening to people in the community give evidence about what it is like to receive a robo-debt letter. We began getting calls to our office in late 2016 and then it became many emails a day.  

We heard a lot of evidence. There were nine hearings across Australia, and what will always stick with me, is that at every single hearing, we heard from or about people having suicidal thoughts or a severe deterioration in mental health upon receiving a letter.